Blak and Blu - Gary Clark, Jr.

Generally favorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 15 out of 24
  2. Negative: 0 out of 24
  1. Oct 30, 2012
    Blak and Blu's production (by Rob Cavallo and Mike Elizondo in collaboration with Clark) is too polished and processed for its own good, but if this album isn't likely to change your life, it will make an hour of it a lot more interesting, and there's no arguing that Gary Clark, Jr. is a talent strong enough to match his record company's hype.
  2. Oct 24, 2012
    Blak & Blu certainly isn't legendary. But it's a pretty good start.
  3. Feb 12, 2013
    Gary Clark, Jr merges smooth vocals with economical guitar wizardry and makes it all sound less wearyingly pub-rock by embracing the 21st century. [Mar 2013, p.95]
  4. Feb 4, 2013
    The result is a fresh and invigoratingly modern take on black music and as far removed from a musical history lesson as you get. [Mar 2013, p.69]
  5. Feb 6, 2013
    Producers Mike Elizondo and Rob Cavallo smooth away many of the rough edges, and it's the tracks that escape the industry sander that are great. [Mar 2013, p.87]
  6. Oct 23, 2012
    On this album, it's still his blues that cut deepest.
  7. Nov 20, 2012
    And yet, despite such growing pains, Clark's penchant for restless, exploratory tangents ensures that Blak and Blu hits like a ton of bricks.
  8. Feb 21, 2013
    His own tunes range all over the place--Travis County is breathless garage-rock, The Life a debonair, Ne-Yo-like homage to idleness--but the quality is uniformly high.
  9. 91
    Though Clark can occasionally get self-indulgent (some of the jammier songs here drift past the six-minute mark), his casual charisma is powerful enough to consistently hold together Blak and Blu's eclecticism.
  10. 60
    In a perfect world, he'd have everything necessary to run the blues flag worldwide; for now, we'll have to settle for something merely enjoyable.
  11. Oct 23, 2012
    Clark's refusal to be pigeonholed as merely a great axman results in a diverse, sometimes confounding record that exhibits a still-evolving oeuvre while still showcasing the chops that got him to this point in his career.
  12. Nov 1, 2012
    By trying to please all demographics here, Clark gives little sense of who he is.
  13. Feb 12, 2013
    What remains is an adequate compilation of nostalgic sounds, largely void of Clark’s unique voice. Greater consistency would have worked wonders.
  14. Nov 2, 2012
    Blak & Blu proves that an outstanding talent isn't predicated on having a signature song, and that the 28-year-old is worthy of the hype thrown his way.
  15. Oct 23, 2012
    Blak and Blu pays off; it's not a perfect album, but it is bold and exciting.
  16. Nov 15, 2012
    Blak and Blu throbs more like a lava lamp turned upside, a red-line splat of molten nightlife served on a huge sonic bed only achieved by major label productions.
  17. Oct 24, 2012
    Clark can do it all and it's entirely likely that Blak And Blu will be recognized in the future as a moment when American music suddenly got a great deal more interesting.
  18. Oct 23, 2012
    Clark's talent is undeniable, but only when he's not flogging it half to death.
  19. 60
    Large parts of Blak and Blu are spent crooning falsetto soul numbers or cranking out chunky rockers in the vein of the Stones and Bob Seger.
  20. Feb 25, 2013
    His guitar and voice are at their best on the likes of opening Stax stomper Ain't Messin' 'Round and the heavy soul of When My Train Pulls In, Numb, and the funky Bright Lights--his guitar crunchy and full in a way you only get with good amps and pedals.
  21. 60
    As is, our appetite has only been whetted and not satiated.
  22. Blak and Blu is the very definition of a bellwether, and the resounding answer to all of the many who have predicted such greatness.
  23. Oct 23, 2012
    The guitarist's musical openness is admirable. But Blak and Blu sounds like he's just trying on different styles
  24. Nov 8, 2012
    There is an earnestness to Blak & Blu, even in its bumpier moments, that holds your attention, even if it's the testosterone fueled bombast that initially grabs it by the throat.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 12 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 4
  2. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Nov 14, 2013
    Solid blues with added surprises of hip hop, soul and power pop! One of my favorites to wake up the party or travelling in the car! Gary Clark Jr is the latest in a long line of talented and versatile guitarists in the guitar hero mode. Full Review »
  2. Dec 6, 2012
    Gary Clark Jr. is amazing at what he does. That solo on "Please Come Home" is filled with so much soul I don't know how else to describe it. "Third Stone from the Sun / If You Love Me Like You Say" is just plain crazy. He has is own signature sound. It's kind of like how you can tell just by listening when Hendrix is playing, or Santana, or Jack White. That little lick he plays on that song (Third Stone form the Sun...) is derived from Hendrix's version but he made it his own. I like it all. There's something missing, though. I was expecting another song like "Numb" but with even more energy. Maybe Gary can create something crazy in his next album. I'd love to hear some Muddy Waters mixed with Jack White and some Hendrix flavor on a track. Full Review »
  3. Nov 19, 2012
    Good, not great. Some songs have enough power in them to make the album worth listening to worth while, but ultimately most songs are skippable. Such a contrast from song to song does not fair well to a listener looking for consistency from song to song. Ultimately, this album fell short of its potential. Full Review »